Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing from Pirated to Permitted Software.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 7, 2017)
Sindee found out recently that the copy of Microsoft Office installed on her computer was a pirated copy. She purchased a new copy, removed the pirated program, installed the newly purchased software, but discovered that the product key from the pirated version remains on her computer. She is now unable to download any updates to the program and wonders how to fix the situation.
Product keys for Microsoft Office are stored in the Windows Registry. If you want to install a copy of Office that uses a different product key, then you need to delete the place in the Registry where the product key is stored. You do that by following these general steps:
These steps are the "quick and simple" steps to get rid of the product key. Understand that you should not follow these steps if you have multiple versions of Office installed on the same system. In that case, you'll want to follow the more detailed steps outlined in these Knowledge Base articles:
When you start an Office application, you will then have the opportunity to enter the new product key. If you prefer, you can uninstall Microsoft Office before you do the Registry editing, and then reinstall the software from scratch.
If you don't feel comfortable editing the Windows Registry or if you run into other problems doing the uninstall, you can try a free utility such as Revo Uninstaller:
The program is much more thorough in its cleaning capabilities than is the regular Windows Uninstaller. It can get rid of all vestiges of Microsoft Office, and then you can reinstall the software with no problems.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9226) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing from Pirated to Permitted Software.
Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!
Want to see how your document will look before it's printed? Or, do you want to see what things will look like if you put ...Discover More
The rulers in Word can be quite helpful when formatting your document. The rulers may not be displayed all the time, ...Discover More
Want to get rid of almost everything on the screen except your document? Here's how to easily maximize what you see.Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.